Chapter 103: Al-‘Asr
By (the Token of) Time (through the Ages),Verily Man is in loss,
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy
Lately, I’ve been asking myself whether I’ve been utilizing my time fully. Whenever I think of time, I’ll recall the above chapter from the Quran and start feeling so ashamed of myself. Though I try to fill up my time with useful endeavours, I’m aware that I’ve given in to vices that does not add value to my life nor shape me into a better person at all.
I attended a talk some time ago (it was such a while back and I’ve truly forgotten the name of the speaker!) where the speaker mentioned several salient points pertaining to how we use our time. One of the points he mentioned which struck me was this: Man wants to be productive and master the art of managing their time however we tend to give ourselves lots of excuses so that we can procrastinate.
Take the example of a student who needs to complete his assignments. More often than not, phrases like “I’m too tired”, “There’s always tomorrow”, “This is boring” and many more are often heard. Instead of completing the assignment soon and use the rest of the time in pursuit of valuable knowledge and skills, what do our youths do? They procrastinate!
Even if a student is on task, their aim in completing the assignment (what ever happened to treating the assignment as a learning experience as opposed to one that is done just because the teacher required it?) is so that they can continue engaging in unbeneficial pursuits with an ‘ease of mind’. Our youths who are replete with vibrancy and energy are sadly wasting their time by spending hours watching shows online, playing games and many more. The same goes for working adults, parents and others too. Amid our daily responsibilities, we will always be able to ‘successfully’ come up with a ‘sensible excuse’ not to devote even 15 minutes (exercise, anyone?) to something meaningful. It’s no wonder that our youths are wasting time – they are emulating us adults too.
The Prophet s.a.w. once said that “There are two blessings that most people lose: Health and spare time” (Bukhari, 8/421). These are extremely wise words. How many of us takes good care of our health and use our time wisely when we are healthy? Did you spend that 2 hours of free time you had earlier in the day doing something meaningful or did you spend it chatting or laughing in front of the black box?
I was just thinking to myself the other day that I’m currently 29. I’ll be 30 in my next birthday. What exactly have I done with my time which I could be proud of? Have I taken care of my body? Spent time to know more about this world? Acquired a valuable skill? Done righteous deeds? Used time for Allah swt? If I were to pass away today and God asks how I had spent my time on Earth, will I stand shamefully before Him with my head lying low knowing that I’d not appreciated the time He had given me or would it be otherwise?